Kiryat Shemona were relegated to the Leumit League after drawing with Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-2 as an Itay Ben Shabbat late own goal did in the northerners sending them down a division. Antoine Conte was sent off just ten minutes into the match after he was issued a red card leaving the Reds with ten men for the balance of the contest. Senin Sebai took full advantage of the extra man and scored a brilliant bicycle kick goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. Itamar Shviro then was handed a penalty kick which was promptly saved but he was able to pounce all over the rebound to give Kiryat Shemona a 2-0 lead just ten minuets later. However, Kayes Ganem’s header cut the lead to 2-1 which led to the dramatic tying goal in the 78th minute when Itay Ben Shabbat’s poor clearance attempt landed up in his own goal as the sides split the points which sent Kiryat Shemona down a league.
“I have to say that our crowd is #1,” Hapoel coach Haim Silvas began. “It’s not just this game but all of the time. I don’t know a fanbase that follows their team everywhere and during the most difficult of times. My goal coming here was to keep this team in the league and I was able to do that but these fans need a team that will be able to battle for the top of the league and for titles.”
“This really hurts, especially when we were leading and we were playing a team that was down to ten men,”Kiryat Shemona coach Slobodan Drapic began. “We wanted to win and bring the decisive game back home so this is really disappointing. I didn’t think we would go down especially after the first half but this is what happened.”
Hapoel Hadera defeated Bnei Sakhnin 3-2 in a barnburner of a matchup that ensured Hadera would remain in the Premier League. Basil Khuri gave Sakhnin a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute but Jonathan Cisse drew Hadera even just ahead of the break off of a corner kick. Sakhnin retook the lead on Freddy Plumain’s strike but Samy Bourard knotted the game up in the 73rd minute and five minutes later Steven Alfred found the winner for Nico Avitan’s squad.
“We are very happy that we have kept the club in the Premier League for the following season,” Avitan said. “This was a fax game with many difficult moments for us and we thought we were going to see something play out that would have been very tough for us. But we saw Hadera play really well and take the win which was most important.”
“We were very good for the most part of this game,” Sakhnin coach Kobi Refuah said. “We knew that Hadera was very good on set pieces and that is where we gave up our goals despite having worked on these things. We of course wanted to win the game but hopefully we will do that next week before we go on break.”
Sektzia Nes Ziona blanked Hapoel Haifa 1-0 as Almog Buzgalo scored the winner in the 85th minute in what was Hanan Maman’s last game for the Carmel reds after retiring.
“This was a very exciting game for me,” Maman began. “When I was subbed off I broke down. I want to thank everyone and I only wish that everyone could experience what I have in my career. My family accompanied me the entire way and I had to retire after dealing with so many issues; it’s time to let me body rest.”
Maccabi Bnei Reineh slipped by Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 as Mark Koszta scored a 55th minute penalty to give his side the 3-points.
“We have a complete football club and one that everyone contributes to,” Reineh coach Sharon Mimer began. “Without my staff we would not be in the situation where we will be playing next season in the Premier League. The guys were great and as we hit money time they deserve all of the credit.”
“We played well in the first half and we created a number of opportunities,” Beitar assistant Gal Cohen said. “We have a very big goal ahead of us which is the State Cup Final after advancing, but we made some mistakes in this game and once we conceded its as difficult to comeback.”